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Suzanne Lockhart. M.A. Criminology thesis University of Melbourne, 2005 Current: PhD candidate University of S.A Identity Fraud – Displacement effects and diffusion of benefits. ARC/AUSTRAC project. Community Perceptions of Biometric Technology. Human identification.

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Suzanne lockhart

Suzanne Lockhart

M.A. Criminology thesis

University of Melbourne, 2005

Current: PhD candidate

University of S.A

Identity Fraud – Displacement

effects and diffusion of benefits.

ARC/AUSTRAC project.

Community perceptions of biometric technology

Community Perceptions of Biometric Technology

Human identification

Human identification

  • Moved from a social context of belonging to a group or family where associates rely on peculiarities such as appearance, voice and shared knowledge.

  • To a more complex process based on economic necessity.

Drivers for enhanced identity infrastructures

Drivers for enhanced identity infrastructures

  • Terrorism – identity crimes

  • Globalization of economic & social life - transfer of information, goods, people and convergence of computing and communication technologies.

  • Australia: Whole-of-government approach to the integration of information systems, services, policies and programs.

Australian context

Australian context

Australian Government states:

“that it intends to keep

pace with the application

of biometric technology to

improve border protection,

combat identity fraud, address

passenger volume issues and

meet international obligations”

Social responses

Social responses

  • Indication that biometrics will become more widespread.

  • However there has been little consideration of how the community may respond to the technology.

Biometric system threats

Biometric system threats

  • Technical threats – software and hardware issues. Ability of the system to deal with physiological rate of change, gender, ethnicity, cost (user perspectives), direct/indirect medical implications.

  • Human threats – Unauthorized users, accidental and deliberate misuse.

  • Physical threats – natural disaster, storm, water, humidity, dust, lighting,

  • Theoretical threats – algorithm vulnerability, enrolment threats, physical and technical threats, circumvention, spoofing and biometric theft.

  • Other technical – standards, data management, interoperability etc.

Research aim human factor issues

Research aim – human factor issues

  • Identify the community perception of biometrics.

  • Identify and explore the variables which might influence the decision to adopt or reject biometric systems.

  • Applied diffusion of innovation theory (Rogers 1995).

    Diffusion research centers on the conditions

    which increase or decrease the likelihood that a

    new idea, product or practice will be adopted

    by the members of a given culture.

Diffusion theory states

Diffusion theory states:

The decision to adopt or reject a new idea or innovation

will be influenced by:

  • receiver variables; social and personal characteristics, perceived need for the innovation etc;

  • relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, triability, observability;

  • time; and

  • communication sources.

Characteristics influencing perceptions of biometrics

Characteristics influencing perceptions of biometrics

Perceptions will change over

time and be

influenced by:

  • Personality characteristics

  • Social issues

1 personality characteristics

1.Personality characteristics

  • Emotional status – influenced by phobias, drugs, alcohol, family, reasons for using the device (airports).

  • Psychological status of user – ability to understand and interact with the system.

  • Psychological dysfunction – psychological disorder, substance related, anxiety, dissociative disorder, impulsive control, reduced intellectual capacity, age.

2 social issues

2. Social issues

  • Privacy – data sharing/mining, access, disclosure etc

  • Function creep

  • Religion

  • Political stance

  • Socio-economic status - education

  • Usability of the system – effective, convenient, reward, intuitive, signage

  • Prior victimization – offender/victim

  • Physical disability/health issues – wheel chair, arthritis, laryngitis, injury.

  • Environmental issues – climate, clothing, type of industry, access to device

  • Social impact – intimidation, technology experience



Identified that the degree of

awareness and knowledge

potential users may have about

biometrics is directly influenced


  • personal, social and experiential characteristics;

  • a perceived need for the innovation;

  • social system variables; and

  • communication behavior.

Other points identified

Other points identified

  • Many were overwhelmed by using multiple passwords and PIN’s.

  • The level of knowledge about biometrics is low.

  • Health and safety is a concern.

  • The public would like more open debate and information about biometrics.

  • Majority are prepared to forgo some issues about privacy to increase more secure authentication mechanisms.

  • Fall back mechanism are required.

  • Primary concerns relate to data sharing, data security and privacy issues.

Social implications of introducing identity crime solutions such as biometrics

Social implications of introducing identity crime solutions such as biometrics.

  • Make society less trusting

  • Change the modus operandi

  • Displacement effects

  • Diffusion of benefits

Suzanne lockhart

Thank you

to discuss any of these issues

please contact

Suzanne Lockhart


0419 545 638

[email protected]

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